December 2004 Archives
The 17th World AIDS Day was observed on Wednesday, December 2, but SF State commemorated the event Thursday, December 3 with personal readings for those who died, free HIV antibody testing in Jack Adams Hall, the hip-hop troupe Da Jump Up, whose main focus is HIV/AIDS prevention in youth and an evening with Spearhead’s Radio Active sharing music and education about HIV/AIDS in the Depot. A total of 40 million people are currently infected with HIV worldwide. Thirty thousand of those infected live in San Francisco.
J. E. Saffold, vice president of Student Affairs/dean of Students, began the morning’s event by talking about the initial response of SF State to the HIV epidemic.
“Our campus was one of the first institutions to create a program in the eighties in response to the HIV crisis,” she said to the early morning crowd of about twenty students.
She continued to talk about statistics worldwide. One in every 100 people between the ages of 15 to 45 is affected with HIV everyday. 5.6 million each year, and a growing number of those affected are women. This year’s theme of World AIDS Day focused on women.
The epidemic is shifting, said Michael Ritter, coordinator of Prevention Education Programs/C.E.A.S.E. Program Counseling and Psychological Services at SF State. Ritter said 26 percent of new cases in North America are women and 62 percent of young women globally are infected with HIV. The largest growth rate of HIV cases in the U.S. is women of color.
Ritter said how drug use has become a major factor of getting the HIV virus. There is a 400 percent increased chance of getting HIV with the use of Methamphetamines in urban areas with a high population of gay men, he said.
“The epidemic was dropping in the nineties,” said Ritter, “but now it’s going back up because of the increased use of Meth.” Ritter said drugs and alcohol make individuals more vulnerable to getting the disease because people are more likely to partake in risky behaviors under the influence.
Free anonymous HIV testing was offered in Jack Adam Hall. Matt Rice, who works for the AIDS Health Project at UCSF and is a student at SF State, was one of the testing councilors. He believes it is very important to get tested especially if people feel like they have done something that may have put them in risk of getting HIV, such as having unprotected sex or sharing needles.
“Facing the reality of having HIV is a big scary thing,” Rice said, “For people who are genuinely at risk there is a lot of anxiety about knowing your status.”
The process of getting a HIV test is painless with the use of oral testing devices that use saliva to test for HIV antibodies. Those tested can get their results in a week.
“They need to know their status and if they are infected they can have access to medical care which is the biggest part of long-term health for people with HIV,” said Rice.
Ritter also thinks it’s really important to recognize HIV, especially on campus.
“It’s complex of course because there’s emotional and psychology things that go along with it. Our community has lost so many and has been so greatly impacted by this -- faculty, staff, and students have died or are living with HIV,” Ritter said.
Amongst a dizzying array of high tech equipment, vials, tubes and containers, students and faculty at SF State are performing a multitude of scientific projects and studies dealing with what have been called the building blocks of life.
Located in Hensill Hall, the Conservation Genetics Laboratory (CGL) houses facilities that are used for a wide variety of research, particularly concerning deoxyribonucleic acid—more commonly known as DNA.
Students at SF State may be surprised to find out that such a place is located on campus, but the CGL has in fact been around for some time now—the lab was built in 1985, and people working there have produced more than 90 master’s theses, according to CGL director Frank Cipriano.
“I think that rate is accelerating now, because the whole bio-technology explosion is happening. There’s a lot of bio-tech companies in this area, which is good for us because our students have many options when they leave here,” said Cipriano.
About 60 people are currently using the lab, ranging from undergrads to faculty, to graduate students and post-docs, using the latest in technology to further their research.
“The most used techniques are PCR, which is the amplification of DNA, and then sequencing the DNA, so that’s what [we usually do here],” said Cipriano.
“There are a few other ancillary protocols that people are using in order to analyze genetic material, including some micro satellites, which isn’t quite sequencing but is done on the same machines.”
One of the areas that has been the subject of numerous masters theses from CGL is termed ‘Phylogenetic Systematics’—which is looking at evolutionary relationships of plants and animals by using molecular information, and giving it a sort of deconstructed family tree, by looking at genetic relationships. Another field of study, with a similar approach is called ‘Phylogeography,’ which according to Cipriano is where scientists look at the relationships among different geographic areas related to genetic diversity of organisms in those areas—thereby seeing how populations of the species vary in their geographic range.
“Another thing that’s quite similar to that and oftentimes involves analysis of the same data sets, is ‘Genetic Diversity Assessment,’ and comparisons of genetic traditions between different areas. That kind of study is where the name Conservation Genetics Laboratory comes from, because that’s usually the field of study [done in the lab].”
Conservation Genetics is looking at the genetic diversity of different populations—members of the same species in different areas—and trying to determine if they are really different, and should be managed separately.
“One of the newest developments in Conservation Biology in general is the idea that we’re not just saving species, we need to be concerned about conserving their genetic diversity within the species,” said Cipriano.
Cipriano said that this idea has come from the realization that plants, animals, or anything else that lives in a particular region, has probably adapted over time, and this adaptation makes them more suited to live in that area—so if that particular population is wiped out due to any number of factors, including human interference—it may be impossible to ever bring them back.
The laboratory itself consists of a couple of different rooms, each serving specific purposes, such as extracting DNA, amplifying it, sequencing it, and then evaluating the results.
Craig Reading is a graduate student who while working on his own thesis, involving the population genetics of a species of salamanders, is also a full time lab technician. Currently he is working on material for a faculty member studying a group of plants called arctostaphylos, commonly known as Manzanitas, which are found throughout California.
“The relationships within the species itself are not widely known, so we’re trying to work out the molecular side of it to try to figure out what’s really going on, and how they came to be—it’s thought that they are of what we call hybrid orgin,” said Reading.
Juniper Scribner is a graduate student and lab assistant working on her master’s degree project—a population genetics study of harbor seals of the California region.
“I’m looking at population level differences…there might be little groups [where] there isn’t as much gene flow, they might just be breeding with each other, so I’m looking to see if that is true, or not true, or if they are part of one big population that is intermixing, interbreeding, going up and down the coast.”
Scribner’s research will be valuable no matter what her exact findings turn out
“Even if I find that the population is just one big interbreeding population, that’s important information for the people who are making conservation management laws for harbor seals.”
“It also kind of gives a baseline—in Europe they had a big die-off of harbor seals, a disease outbreak broke through the population and killed thousands and thousands of seals. So it’s kind of good to know what [the] genetic variability of this population [is]. How far are the genes flowing? If there is a disease outbreak, is it going to wipe the whole population out? Is it going to stay in one region? It will give us information like that as well.”
Cipriano is also involved with research concerning marine mammals—last year he was part of a team that performed a DNA analysis on dog food bought in Japanese supermarkets—and found that it contained the DNA of whales and dolphins, proving that ships from Japan were illegally whaling in Antarctica and the North Pacific.
Cipriano says he sees a vast number of future opportunities for students who currently work at the CGL.
“There are many options for somebody coming out with these kinds of skills, they can work in the [bio-tech] industry, they can work in a government research lab, or they can continue their education at the PhD level.”
On Nov. 18, SF State students and other human rights organizations from the Bay Area gathered at Fulton Street across the St. Ignatius Church to protest Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s visit to the University of San Francisco.
The demonstration was a response to the event the president received an honorary doctorate degree from USF. Demonstrators claimed Arroyo is responsible for numbers of human rights violations.
Click on the button on the right to hear the voices of SF State students and other protesters.
Soon SF State students will no longer be required to identify themselves by their social security number. Begining the 2005 fall semester, current and continuing students will be issued a new, unique 9-digit number to use for identification on the university campus, according to Suzanne Dmytrenko, university registrar.
“We have not had any ID thefts that I know of on this campus. But we are trying to be proactive about it,” Dmytrenko said about keeping faculty, staff and student records safe.
Records at SF State’s Department of Public Safety concur. No incidents of identity theft with a Social Security number have been reported, according to Jennifer Schwartz, DPS senior sergeant.
Last year the academic senate and university administration decided to take this on as a major project due to increased sensitivity to identity theft, said Dmytrenko. It also runs parallel to the request by California State University Chancellor Reed that each CSU look into finding more ways to keep student and employee information confidential.
“One did not influence the other,” Dmytrenko said about the chancellor-initiated project called the Confidentiality and Information Security Project (CISP) and the campus’ own move toward unique campus ID numbers. The change to SFSU ID numbers was in the works prior to Reed’s request. Dmytrenko also acts as a chair of the CISP.
Except for tax identification and other legal purposes, the university will not use social security numbers to identify students.
This change is good news for students like Brian Tatro, 20, who have been uneasy about using such sensitive information during his studies at SF State.
“I think it’s great that the school is making an effort to protect my identity and social security number, it's always been a hassle with my professors when they post my grade,” said sophomore Tatro, an undeclared major. “I never wanted them to post a part or all of my number, and some just didn't care about my concerns.”
Due to concern of his social security number being compromised, Tatro says he would tell his instructors he would rather have his ID number and course grade omitted from a publicly posted class list than have his social security number displayed.
“I’d say about 90 percent respected my wishes and didn’t post my grade [on the list],” he said.
Students will not need to do much to prepare for the conversion to SFSU ID, according to administrators. New and continuing students will begin picking up their new ID cards during the re-carding of the campus community prior to the new fall semester. Further details of the process will be physically or electronically mailed to students in the summer.
However, some things will still be the same, The new cards will still feature a photograph of the student and offer the same services, such as use as a copy machine debit card and keeping track of meals at the residence halls’ dining center.
Further, the new SFSU ID number, which will be found on the card’s face, will be useful only at SF State and, will still be pin-protected with a personal access code(PAC). Although it will also be a 9-digit number assigned to a single student, unlike a social security number, it cannot be used to open a bank account, or even obtain the student’s information from other California State University campus. It only has meaning to the systems at SF State, according to Dymtrenko.
Along with the number change, the ONEcard office, the entity in charge of student ID cards, wants to allow students more use with their cards. Currently, they are looking to negotiate vendors, such as the bookstore, to accept the ID card as a debit card.
“Right now it’s a matter of getting people to buy into the program,” said Alexia Devlin, ONEcard office manager. She is also trying to find local businesses who will accept the new SFSU card.
When Richard Oakes was a 27-year-old at SF State, he organized a 19-month long occupation of Alcatraz that ended when federal marshals stormed the island on June 11, 1971 and arrested a handful of unarmed American Indians.
In the end, Oakes' takeover of the island resulted in the creation of SF State’s American Indian Studies Department and brought a new awareness to their rights.
He was a man who had a vision, “a man who dreams, dreams and holds those dreams closer then his vision,” Dr. Darryl Wilson, a retired SF State professor of American Indian Studies said in a letter to Oakes.
Those dreams came crashing down in 1973 when Oakes was shot and killed in a still unsolved murder.
On Nov. 17, Wilson and a group of more than 100 students and guests gathered in Jack Adams Hall for the Richard Oakes celebration, an event that commemorated the life of a leader credited with bringing American Indian quality of life issues to the forefront of the American consciousness.
“Richard is not a ‘was,’ he is an ‘is,’” said Wilson to the crowd. “He is your friend and my friend.”
Wilson shared with an ethnically diverse audience a dream he and Oakes had to bring the Salmon back to the Pit River. They had hoped to persuade Pacific Gas & Electric to install fish ladders on its dams that blocked the salmon’s migration upstream.
They were never able to convince PG&E to install the ladders, Wilson said, but they did dream up solutions that had the two of them digging ditches around the seven dams. It was silly idea that made them smile, he said.
For more than four hours a collection of singers, dancers, and speakers representing different tribes celebrated their heritage and the life of Richard Oakes.
Dr. Tharon Weighill, a Chumash American Indian and SF State graduate just earned his doctorate degree from UC Riverside. He knew Oakes when he was young and said the leader had a profound influence in his decision to get his doctoral degree.
“He had a natural leadership about him because he was compassionate about where we were as people and how it was that the social inequalities were treating us,” Weighill said.
Weighill believes events like the Richard Oakes celebration are vital. They serve to bridge the gap between Native Americans and the rest of society, he said, adding that Oakes was himself a bridge between peoples.
“He helped to shape our own history as aboriginal people still here on the land,” Weighill said. “If he serves anything as a historical marker, he was one of the persons who helped raise the consciousness about us taking an active role in our construction of our own history.”
John-Carlos Perea, a Mescalero Apache and SF State Alum, is an ethnomusicology graduate student at UC Berkeley. He played an American Indian drum and sung songs taught to him by Dr. Barney Hoehner, a former SF State American Indian Studies teacher who died nine years ago.
Hoehner’s life was also celebrated. He was an extremely influential tribal elder in the Bay Area in terms of American Indian music, Perea said.
“He played an instrumental role in bringing a sense of positive identity to urban Indian kids and non-Indian kids so that folks could better understand it’s not all Dances with Wolves and not all the Atlanta Braves.”
People think performers perform to be seen, Perea said, but his responsibility is to sing his songs, keep his heritage alive, and project an image that counters what's depicted in Disney movies or in the logos of sporting teams, he said.
“[Dr. Hoehner] gave me those songs, he gave me this responsibility and now that he has passed on, I’m here in order to keep those songs going and keep that music going,” he said.
Dancers whirl across the stage, music blares and costumes sparkle in the light. Meanwhile, a small figure in the back of the darkened theater takes it all in, making a note of every missed lighting cue, of every misplaced prop, of every flubbed move.
Between each rehearsal, breathless dancers will bound over to consult with Dr. Albirda Rose and listen attentively as she chastises them for an unpointed toe or compliments them on their focus with equal good nature. There are only two rehearsals left until the big show—her last as a full-time professor-- and Rose wants all the dancers to show off their talents.
The rehearsal cycle starts again and the newly implemented advice makes the dancers look even better. But still, Rose sits in the dark, watching.
Rose has been bringing out the best in SF State students for over 30 years. Since she joined the staff at the age of 24, Rose has traveled the world and taken her philosophy to the lives of people of all ages and walks of life. This year will be Rose’s last as a full-time professor at SF State.
In addition to teaching students, Rose is known for her work with underprivileged young people in the community. She knows many of them through the creative dance with children and production class.
Every fall semester, members of Rose’s class go to Visatacion Valley to bring dance to children of the area, many of whom come from lower-income families. Rose said that both the children and students gain a lot from the class.
“Our students are learning and the children and learning so it goes both ways,” Rose said. “Our (SF State) students are being introduced to a cultural context that they are not always familiar with. The other students are introduced to the larger society using dance as a tool. We help socialize them into another reality.”
Rose added that children are dealing with so many other issues. “Some of the kids have seen 4-5 people killed in their families. And you don’t see the fear like you think. But the fact that they don’t listen, the fact that they do lash out at each other, the fact that they don’t know how to take responsibility or is sign to me to me that they are living under that. That’s why we’re out there.”
Rose says nurturing the gifts of under-privileged children is important.
“When I see children or young adults who have something, you want to make you sure you can direct them somewhere,” Rose said. “Somebody did it for me. I wouldn’t be here without them. No way.”
Rose began dancing in classes at Oakland’s Park and Recreation. In her formative years she trained under dancers such as Ruth Beckford, Louise Jorgensen, and Katherine Dunham, about whose philosophy of dance she wrote “Dunham Technique: A Way of Life.”
Rose went on to a life of dance with help from her teachers—and a lot of support from her family who she credits with teaching her the value of determination and faith.
Her faith would lead her to an important milestone in her life—being ordained as a Baptist minister in 1995.
“I think my calling really came when I was about 21-22, but at that time women weren’t in the ministry, weren’t nurtured,” Rose said. “But my master’s thesis was ‘My religion, my faith, my strength’ so I think I was dealing with all of that then. Knowing oneself through the body and movements and relationships with a higher power is very apparent in dance.”
In her over three decades at SF State, Rose has seen the turmoil and change of the years reflected in her students’ work.
“This is a sad show,” Rose reflects from the back of the auditorium as she watches a particularly emotional piece in which two students somberly move to lyrics that speak of drugs and violence. “Even one of my colleagues said, ‘There’s no happy dances this year.’ And I said, 'There’s not a one!'”
Dr. Rose watches another dance in which dancers move in front of a screen showing graphic images of war and poverty.
“Over the years you watch whatever’s going on in society, and student’s choreography reflects that,” Rose said. “Because we’ve got so much war and all of this stuff, a lot of these pieces has taken on sadness… It depends on what’s going on. I’ve always said that art forms reflect what’s going on in society and usually the artists pick up on it first.”
No matter what history has brought to SF State, Rose’s students are enthusiastic about the difference she has made to their craft.
“She was always very personable, down to earth, just like she is now,” said Mertha Muse, a dance instructor and one of Dr. Rose’s first students at SF State. “Not pretentious at all…I’ve learned life-long lessons from her that have extended out of the classroom, out of the university.”
Rose exerts the same influence over her students today.
“She’s really supportive and nurturing,” said Travis Rowland, a dance and theater major. “I guess in certain arenas when things go wrong you would be kind of scolded, but she just chuckles with us and you know we’re all learning together. She’s just such a great asset here.”
Serenity Maly, a student of Rose since 2002 and an award-wining choreographer in her own right, agrees.
“She’s absolutely amazing,” Maly said, taking a break from watching a piece she choreographed herself. “She tells you what’s on her mind and she’s not afraid to just tell it like it is, and that’s really wonderful about her. She’s very supportive and very warm and loving and she has a lot to offer and a lot to give and that makes us want to give back. It’s a wonderful blessing to be in her presence."
After three decades of teaching, Rose has chosen to retire in January. Although she will continue to teach fall semester courses at SF State for a few more years, Rose welcomes the change of pace.
“I’m a little burnt out,” Rose said. “I just want some time to myself, and I want to focus differently.”
Rose has many projects in the works, including possibly updating her book on the Dunham technique, or starting work on a new book.
“I miss her already,” Muse said, “but she’s not really giving up dancing. She’s just moving to a different level.”
On Monday, Nov. 29 the SF State Counsel for Academic Affairs had a meeting that consisted of its typical members: the deans of each college and the university provost. But this meeting was not typical. On this day English professors Helen Gillotte-Tropp and Sugie Goen also attended to present their ideas for saving the university’s remediation program, a set of classes assisting incoming freshmen in gaining proficient English course skills. The program now stands to be eliminated by fall 2006.
In 2003 approximately 49 percent of incoming freshman required remediation, far from the goal set by the California State University trustees to have 78 percent of incoming freshman proficient in English by 2004. By 2007 the goal set by the CSU is to have a 90 percent proficiency rate.
Depending on how poorly students score on the university’s English Placement Test (EPT) determines how many remedial courses they need to take before entering English 114, 214 and potentially English 414, depending upon the results of their JEPET exam.
Students who score in the lowest segment of the EPT are required to take English 48 and 51, both three-unit courses, and English 118 and 121, both one-unit courses, before they can enroll in English 114.
“There is a mandate that’s been given by the California State University Chancellor’s office that by 2007 there will no longer be remediation on the campus,” said Gillotte-Tropp.
Beginning in Fall 2006, the remediation program will no longer receive money from the campus general fund. According to Enrique Riveros-Schafer, associate vice president of academic affairs, the campus remediation program costs approximately $883,000 for the 2004/2005 fiscal year – and came entirely from general funds.
The money saved by eliminating the program will not, however, be a lost resource to the campus. The current plan is to redistribute the money to each of the colleges, potentially making up for deficiencies created by hard-hitting budget cuts, said Riveros-Schafer. Since new sources of funding for the remediation program are unlikely, English teachers, university officials and college deans are now discussing a number of alternatives to the program itself.
Gillotte-Tropp and Goen also expressed concern that remediation courses are comprised mainly of minorities and removal of the program would directly affect those students.
“If you look at the demographics of those classes,” said Daniel Smith, English composition masters student and coordinator of the English Tutoring Center, “it’s not uncommon for some of them to be composed entirely of minorities.”
Goen agreed. “If we remove remediation,” she said, “we’re removing a whole profile of students that the university professes to have a vested interest in and commitment to.”
One of the most significant alternatives to the complete removal of the remediation program is the one Gillotte-Tropp and Goen presented Nov. 29.
In 1999 Gillotte-Tropp and Goen independently arranged for a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education, part of the federal governments Department of Education. The fund provided SF State with money to help begin a program of specialized “accelerated English” courses.
“Students get through three semesters of work in two semesters and they are passing English 214 at a rate of 95 percent after two semesters (after taking the remedial courses),” said Gillotte-Tropp.
Approximately 50 percent of students requiring remediation choose to enroll in the accelerated English program. Amy Love, an English professor who teaches accelerated English courses, said that the retention rate for students in the accelerated program is much higher, and that about 70 percent complete the year of education with a grade of a B- or better.
By completing the courses at that grade level, students also qualify for completion credit for English 114, which, "puts students right on target with their peers that they started with," Love said.
Goen added that the system also saves the university money.
“What we have is a demonstrated program that if we took all students into an accelerated model we could reduce the cost (of the current remediation program) by half,” said Goen.
Riveros-Schafer added that, “We don’t know exactly how much we are going to save, but the preliminary indication is that the accelerated English program could save $200,000 to $300,000.”
But this leaves approximately $600,000 that would still need to be obtained for the program.
“We are also going to try to find out if community colleges can offer equivalent courses to the ones we have here, to provide alternatives,” Riveros-Schafer said. “It’s a plan. It’s something that has not been worked out yet.”
There is the still unanswered question of whether remedial students taking classes at a community college will be admitted to SF State to begin the rest of their curriculum before having completed those remedial courses.
“It’s clearly going to make it more difficult, and in effect impossible, for students to enroll at SF State in their freshman year,” said Smith. “As I understand it, they’ll have to make up comparable classes before they can start attending classes here.”
A third option being discussed is to have all remediation courses provided by the College of Extended Learning, said Riveros-Schafer. The concern here is that courses taken through the CEL program are typically much more expensive.
"Of course we would be concerned about the students being able to pay for it,” said CEL Dean Gail Whitaker. “So we would investigate what we might have to charge so it would be as affordable as possible for students."
If the standard fees for CEL were not significantly lowered for remediation courses, however, this option could disproportionately affect minorities at SF State.
Efforts to ease the remediation problem have also been taken by CSU in collaboration with the California State Board of Education and the California Department of Education. In Spring 2004, the university system began two new programs to address the issue at the high school level. One of the programs, titled the Early Assessment Program (EAP), assists 11th grade students by incorporating college level standards for English into tests at the high school level.
This program will assess which students need further education to meet CSU entry-level English standards. Those that require further assistance will be given specialized activities during their senior year of high school. The program also provides professional development for teachers at the high schools.
According to JoAnn Aguirre, Associate Director of Academic Outreach for the CSU, each campus received a total of $100,000 for the 03/04 academic year to fund that program. Most of that funding supports salary and benefits for a program coordinator and $20,000 of it supports administrative costs to work with local high schools.
Kathy Munderloh, Program coordinator at SF State, was unavailable for comment before deadline.
Gillotte-Tropp and Goen will meet next with SF State’s Academic Senate, and a final plan is expected in Spring 2005.
This was their first time going and it wasn’t as bad as they thought. Entering college for the first time is like any other first, one faces it with a bit of apprehension and excitement.
But the transition from high school to college requires students to adapt, including being an environment with 10 times more students than high school.
Likewise, for many students this semester, the campus may have felt a little more crowded than in previous years. According to a report compiled by the Office of University and Budget Planning, the number of enrolled freshman students this year is the lowest in ten years.
According to Eva Allen, who is the data-reporting analyst for SF State, 4,626 freshman students are enrolled this semester, compared to the fall semester of 1994, where 3,729 freshmen were enrolled. Of the 4,626 freshmen students this semester, 500 are studying part-time, while the other 4,126 are studying full time. Overall, there are officially 28,804 students on campus altogether.
Moreover, according to Associate Vice President Jo Volkert, the number of incoming freshmen students will continue to rise over the years, especially with SF State heavily recruiting in Southern California.
"The number of high school graduates across California has been increasing for several years and will continue to increase at least through
the year 2012," said Volkert in an e-mailed statement. "With the opening of the Towers resident apartment building, we were able to house more freshmen on campus, increasing the appeal of SFSU to freshmen students and their families."
Gabby Aguinaldo, 18, originally planned to study at Sonoma State University but chose to attend SF State out of convenience. “It's cool,” said Aguinaldo, who is taking 13 units this semster. “I mean, it's alright. I live in Daly City, so it's convenient.”
About a fifth of incoming freshmen are enrolled in classes designed to help them succeed during college.
All University courses designed to help first time freshmen utilize campus resources as well as feel connected to the SF State community. The courses are not required but are encouraged by the university.
Though the classes are geared toward a student’s prospective major, the emphasis across the board is on helping the student cultivate what the professors call life skills: Time management, communication skills, research and succeeding in school. Karen Kingsbury, orientation and retention director at SF State, said students who enroll in Teaching Learning Community classes, another type of All University class, more than 95% of them returned for their second semester at SF State. Those who didn’t enroll in TLC classes, 91 percent came back for their second semester.
“Freshmen don’t know always know what to do and they need guidance to get over the rough patch of being in college and learning the ropes,” Kingsbury said. “We have faculty interested in their success.”
Kingsbury said that despite the success of the All University classes they are not required because the university doesn’t have resources or funds to provide enough sections for 3,000 students.
“When we make it elective,” she said, “you have people who want to be there. The TLCs and First Year Experiences courses aren’t for everyone.”
The professors who teach the class see it as a beneficial experience for any first semester student.
“I want [the students] to know this is no longer high school but a fresh start for them,” said Albert Koo, assistant director of the college of business graduate studies, who also teaches two sections of the freshmen orientation seminar.
Koo explained that his class addresses adjustment issues for new students, many of whom are living away from home for the first time and still see their education through high school eyes. His students journal during class, hear guest speakers and learn about the resources available to them through the university.
“The class [also] addresses issues of anxiety and worry,” said Koo. “Many are worried they will fail in college. The concerns of the students are consistent from year to year this why this class is important.”
Sheila Delmendo, moved from Vallejo to San Francisco to study at SF State. “I chose SF State because it seemed like the perfect distance from home,” said Delmendo.
“I heard about it but I didn't take FYE because I wasn't sure if it would be a waste of time," added Delmendo.
Edwin Fabian, a junior, took the FYE class and didnt find it useful. “I hated that class,” exclaimed Fabian, 22. “All I did was cut and went to Stonestown.”
“It was not informative,” he added.
Chris Amodo, 19, took FYE his first semester and recommends all freshmen take the course. "I was hella lost when I got here," admitted Amodo. "It gave me directions about segments and helped me a lot."
"I keep telling freshmen to take FYE," added Amodo.
Another All University instructor for the past four years, Nick Gurney, said the class provides for freshmen a sense of community that can be absent from other classes.
“Some of [the students] haven’t been away from home and have trepidations about being in the college environment,” said Gurney, who is also a career skills associate for the college of business. “The class acts as a mentor and guide.”
Gurney said he runs into students from his past All University classes who are often doing well in their course work because, he said, “Students come out of this class much more aware and attune than students who didn’t take the class.”